31 Days of Pink: Reviewing the purpose

Its been an interesting thing to be a part of, 31 Days of Pink. It started out as a fun challenge: "Will I remember to do it? Will I be able to wear pink for 31 Days? Will people notice a pattern?"

For the first two weeks or so, I had a great time. I found about 14 different tops, and vlogged each one. The vlogging part actually helped me, on a personal level. It helped to make me more comfortable with vlogging and seeing myself on video. But, of course, that wasn't the point of this exercise.

By the 3rd week, I found an old pair of pink earrings, a pink watch, pink sneakers and my pink wellies could, pretty much, help me make it through the rest of the month. The vlogging got old. I can promise you, I wore pink all 31 days. It didn't seem necessary to vlog about it or share it every day.

Which, unfortunately, is where I might have failed this exercise. The point wasn't to wear pink every day. The point was to wear pink and raise awareness. And while many friends knew to look and ask about my pink (which means that, yes, they too were paying attention to wearing pink for awareness), my not sharing it on my blog meant that a large number of my readers weren't being reminded of Breast Cancer research and understanding on a regular basis.

Also, on the 10th day of October, my good friend Jessica at Its My Life, wrote her post How About Real Breast Cancer Awareness? She raised an interesting point: do all of these Breast Cancer Awareness "games" like the Facebook bra game and 31 Days of Pink really raise awareness? Does wearing pink actually raise awareness for Breast Cancer?

My answer: Yes and No.

Yes. I made an effort to wear pink every single day this month, The one morning I didn't have it on I raced home to grab my pink watch. I was completely aware of the reason I wore pink each day. I shared the reason I was wearing pink with others. And I truly believe that by participating in 31 Days of Pink, I remembered and I reminded. So everyone I shared pink with, should have, been influenced to think of and be aware of breast cancer.

And what difference does that make? In my opinion, a lot. There are 365 days this year. How many days are you thinking about breast cancer? Me? I'm not very affected by it. I've known a few people affected by breast cancer, but not enough that I think of Breast Cancer every day. 31 days may even go by without me thinking of it. Cancer? You bet. But Breast Cancer? Not as much.

I know I'm not the only one.

So, anyone everyone I talked to about wearing pink for 31 days was reminded of Breast Cancer.

With that, and Jessica's post, in mind, my subsequent 31 Days posts included reminders to become more aware of breast cancer symptoms and research and to, if the readers are able, give to awareness and research. I always linked to Cancer.org.

But, no. No. Wearing pink, alone, doesn't lead to breast cancer awareness. I have a lot of pink in my closet. So do friends and family. Every time I see someone who is wearing pink I do not immediately think "Oh! Breast Cancer! What can I learn about it today?!" Breast Cancer Awareness needs an extra step. It needs more than pink. It needs to be pink and aware.

So, with that, we say good by to October. We say good-bye to breast cancer awareness.

Stop. No we don't.

When I was teaching, I recall a friend teaching Martin Luther King, Jr. in November, because she was teaching biographies. An administrator asked her "why teach MLK, Jr. when its not February?" We were shocked. We shouldn't just teach Black History during Black History month, and we shouldn't just be aware of breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month. Have we Hallmarked national awareness? Let's make sure we don't. Let's remember to learn more, to care, and to be aware of all causes, as often as we can.

So. We end October. We end Breast Cancer Awareness month. But we don't. We don't end awareness. Instead. Let's remember. Let's reach out. And every now and then, let's remind each other to check cancer.org and learn more. And, you know what? Lets also remember to check our bodies every month, too. Okay?

(FYI: This post was cross posted to Just-Precious, Julie's personal blog.)
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